Elizabeth Montagu Letters
Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800) was famous in her lifetime as a Shakespeare critic, salon hostess and champion of womens writing.
Christened "Queen of the Bluestockings" by Samuel Johnson, Montagu attracted the leading writers, politicians and artists of her day to her sparkling London assemblies, where she placed a new emphasis on conversation as a pleasurable and enlightened pursuit. Her guests included Joshua Reynolds, George, Lord Lyttelton, David and Eva Garrick, William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, Horace Walpole, Edmund Burke, Elizabeth Carter and Samuel Johnson, and later Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Hannah More and Fanny Burney.
In her richly decorated London homes, Montagu aimed to bring together sensual and intellectual pleasure, and to allow talents of many kinds to flourish. Her salon became sought out as a shrine that was supposedly free from the party politics that dominated court culture. Here Montagu nurtured a rising generation of metropolitan intellectuals, writers and artists. She was a public figure within eighteenth-century culture, whose achievements not only illuminate the history of several important aspects (and locations) of her age but also bring together a number of connected lives. She placed herself at the heart of several important networks of the age, with the ability to bestow favour in a regal manner.
As she wrote in a letter to her fellow bluestocking hostess Mrs Vesey in 1781, We have lived with the wisest, the best, and the most celebrated men of our Times, and with some of the best, most accomplished, most learned Women of any times. (MO 6566, Sep 21, 1781, Elizabeth Montagu to Elizabeth Vesey, Huntington Library).
Link to Caroline Franklin's Special Issue of Women's Writing - The Material Culture of Eighteenth Century Women's Writing, available on the 'Useful Links' page.
CALL FOR PAPERS! - Physical Archives in a Digital Age
Chawton House, 13 April 2015
Keynote Speaker: Professor Caroline Franklin
The number of digital resources devoted to British women’s writing continues to expand at a staggering rate, with access to digitized textual material by women, and great stores of biographical and bibliographical data about them and their publications, growing by the day. This conference provides an opportunity to explore the transformation our relation to books and physical archives in an increasingly digital age.
Deadline for abstracts 30th January 2015.
For further details see the entry in our News section.
LATEST PUBLICATION! - The Letters of Sarah Scott
Editor: Nicole Pohl, Oxford Brookes University
The Pickering Masters
2 Volume Set c.800pp: December 2013
978 1 84893 468 9: 234x156mm: £195/$350
Sarah Robinson Scott (1721–1795) was
a writer, translator and social reformer,
and younger sister of Elizabeth
Robinson Montagu (1718–1800), the
famous Bluestocking patron. The
letters Scott wrote to her sister reveal
her to have been a witty, even savage,
commentator on eighteenth-century
Scott turns her observant eye on family
and friends, fashionable Bath society,
potential suitors, the vagaries of the
postal service, modes of dress, events
and political scandal.
letters provide us with a window on to
her own experiences and expectations,
they must also be interpreted within
eighteenth-century context. Letters
were often shared around and read
by people other than the addressee.
In this sense, they are semi-public
documents and artefacts of cultural
history, reflecting both the public and
the private realm.
Scott instructed her executor, Mary
Arnold, to destroy her private papers
after her death, but many of her letters
remain. This is the first edition of
Scott’s letters to be published and
presents all extant copies. All letters
are newly transcribed and edited, and
the edition is published in collaboration
with the Huntington Library, where
the letters are held. It will be of value
to those researching all aspects of
eighteenth-century literature and
• Includes almost 400 letters, most
of which were to Scott’s sister,
Elizabeth Robinson Montagu
• Designated an MLA Approved
• Editorial apparatus includes a
general introduction, four section
introductions and explanatory
• A consolidated index appears in the
For further details and sample pages, see: www.pickeringchatto.com/scott